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          Front Page




Mayor, Winter Take Credit for Center

By Jim Ludwick
Journal Staff Writer
    City Councilor Brad Winter says he and other councilors pushed in 2005 for the family justice center that will open Downtown in July.
    Mayor Martin Chávez announced last week that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse will be able to get help from the criminal justice system, the medical community and social services at a single location. It will open in a Downtown office building this summer.
    Chávez said the city is leasing office space on Silver SW, between Sixth and Seventh streets. United Way will pay for the space.
    The idea of a comprehensive service center was broached in June 2005, when Chávez and Winter were opponents in the mayoral race.
    At the time, Chávez and police officials announced a plan to coordinate efforts dealing with domestic violence and methamphetamine use.
    Later the same day, Winter announced he would be introducing legislation directing Chávez to find a location for a "family justice center" for domestic violence services.
    Winter introduced the legislation almost immediately afterward, and it was approved by the City Council without opposition. Chávez didn't sign the legislation, and it went into effect without his signature.
    It called for the mayor to submit a report about possible locations by Sept. 30, 2005— four days before the mayoral election.
    In a news release Friday, Winter said Chávez never submitted that report.
    "It doesn't matter who takes credit for realizing the need for the creation of the center," Winter said in the news release. "I'm just relieved that something is finally being done."
    The Mayor's Office issued a brief reply: "We're pleased that Councilor Winter is happy with the mayor's initiative."